The University of Brighton’s ten-storey Cockcroft Building dates from the 1960s and provides 15,000 sqm of mixed-use academic space for 1,250 staff and students, including teaching rooms, laboratories, academic offices and restaurant facilities. Although structurally sound, its infrastructure had reached the end of its design life and mechanical and electrical services needed a major upgrade. Demolishing the building was initially considered, but this was dismissed and Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects devised a retrofit and refurbishment approach – a reduction in CO2 emissions being a strategic driver for the project. As part of this, the firm specified a water-based, elastomeric, decorative coating, Flexcrete’s Monodex Smooth, for the external walls.
The phased refurbishment project is due for final completion later this year and has involved the demolition of all internal walls to create new learning and administration spaces with improved energy efficiency and reduced maintenance costs. Externally, new double-glazed windows and a new roof have been installed and Monodex Smooth has been applied to the external walls in bright white to provide protection against carbon dioxide diffusion and water ingress.
Monodex Smooth was applied to the Cockcroft Building by Primetone Builders Ltd. Applied by brush, roller or airless spray, the water-based coating releases no hazardous solvents or strong odour during application and is fast-drying, enabling two application on the same working day. It also allows damp substrates to breathe and dry out without blistering and incorporates an encapsulated biocide to inhibit the growth of mould, mildew and lichens.
Monodex Smooth is CE marked in accordance with BS EN 1504 part two and has a design life of up to 15 years before first maintenance.
The Cockcroft Building refurbishment project is being delivered by Fraser Brown MacKenna Architects, Wilmott Dixon Interiors, Curtins Consulting, Burnley Wilson Fish, Mott Macdonald and Primetone Builders Ltd.